of the Forest
If you have ever met
someone who makes their own jams and jellies, you know that
they guard the location of their berry patches like they would
a buried treasure. Luckily, if you like to make jam or you
just like to eat fresh berries, there is no better place to
find them than in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Blueberries are one of
the most abundant berries to be found in the U.P. They need
well drained soil in order to grow and the sandy soils lining
of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan are great for this. So
is the glacial till left behind thousands of years ago by
retreating glaciers. Blueberries also do well in bogs were
where the remains of dead plants form nutrient-rich but acidic
soil. Wild blueberries are smaller than the ones you can buy
at the grocery store, but they are much sweeter.
blueberries, raspberries, and wild strawberries were part
of the staple foods of Ojibwe Native Americans who lived in
the Upper Great Lakes area before European settlers arrived.
During the spring and summer when the berries were abundant,
they ate them fresh. They also preserved them in two different
ways so that they could be saved for winter too. In one method,
the Ojibwe wove mats from strips of pine bark and laid the
berries in the sun until the moisture dried them out. They
also made berry bakes by mixing the berries with maple syrup.
They poured the mixture onto sheets of birch bark where they
were left until dry. The Ojibwe word for raspberry is mis
To find out more about
the berries of the Northwoods, check out the links below: